April 18/19, 2015
Read below for the Race Report!
Here's a cool video from the race:
At Lindborg, we found out we had a short urban run. I opted to leave my biking stuff on and just run to save time. I wasn't super fast in my bike shoes, but I hoped the reduction of 2 transitions would save me the time I needed. After all, the run looked to be less than 3k. We toured some of the town's heritage, a cool old mill, and some touristy trinkets. Then, I jumped back on the bike.
Next, I rode to the highest hills in the area. A last second change of route to stay on pavement instead of a dirt road I had planned kept me in the top 4. The Coronodo Heights Park was a butte with an awesome old castle on top. We got to the top and found out we had another on-foot Orienteering section. I switched to my Altra Superior 2.0s and I didn't even have to look at my map--What good race director wouldn't put a point inside the castle?! To my delight, we got to go inside, climb up the stairs to the roof for the CP. I ran around the butte, collecting about 5 other CPs. It was a fun little course, nothing tricky. Just good to the point navigation. I ran back, swapped back to my biking shoes and realized I was 2nd out of the TA. Nice!
To the Lake!
I held 2nd for a good bit, but the 3rd & 4th teams snuck up over time. We had a long ways to go, though, so I knew to just keep hammering. I grabbed a couple CPs on the way to the lake where the main transition area was going to be located. Here we'd get the full reveal of the rest of the course. The top 5 teams arrived at the TA around the same time. We found out we had 3 legs that we could choose to do in any order.
I opted to boat first before, I figured, the inevitable Kansas wind would pick up. It was pretty straight forward, but I was a little more sloppy on my nav in this leg than any other since paddling my boat straight and navigation multitasking is not exactly my forte. The paddle was short, but sweet. I saw a water moccasin, turkeys, deer and lots of snapping turtles and fish.
Bushwhack and Lightning
Back at the TA, I transitioned quickly and let the directors know I was going out on the trek. I planned my route and I was off.
I loved this trek. It was rugged, and the Kansas terrain around the lake was fun to traipse around. Scrambling around random rock features, jumping and wading across water inlets, running through plains, bounding down reentrants. I had a blast.
About midway through the weather changed. I had been watching some clouds form in the distance earlier, but I had hoped I could stay out of the storm zone if I moved quickly. Soon it was right upon me and I had to decide what to do. The reentrants were safe enough. I was about 60 feet down inside, there were plenty of trees. But, if I chose to go up and over the hills like I had originally planned, I'd definitely be the tallest thing in the plains.
I took a few moments to observe the weather and get my jacket on. The lightning and thunder were right on top of me and it was a bit nerve-racking. I opted to stay inside the reentrants and run around to my next 2 CPs (nearly tripling my mileage). This race was fun, but probably not worth getting barbecued over. I ran quickly and tried to not dwell on the fact I was losing time, but rather making a smart safety decision.
By the time I got to the last trekking CP, there were still some rumblings, but I wasn't nervous about ground strikes anymore. The bulk of the storm had passed. And so I ran back to the Transition Area as quickly as my legs could go in that wooly terrain.
My navigation had been on, and though I had to make a detour to avoid the storm, I had not lost any time in finding the CPs. I hoped that it would all pan out in the end.
Last Bike before the Bike
On the way back, I witnessed a beautiful Kansas Sunset, some elegant white tailed deer and a giant rainbow that beamed as brightly as the moon. It was beautiful, then I raced back to the transition area at the final light.
I pedaled hard, but felt my own lapse in energy creep up on me. I shoved a ton more food down my throat to get my energy levels up and added a warmth layer to get my body temps back up after being wet and cold for a while and trying to ignore it. The food and warmth did good and I peddled the next 25 miles to the finish.
The finish was desolate. I feared I'd totally missed something at first and was in the wrong place. But I eventually found the right person inside the building. She said I finished a little under 30 minutes behind Kuat. Despite some energy bonking of their own, they had rallied and increased their lead on me. They did fantastic, and it was a blast racing them!
I showered, ate, and called my hubby and slept well in my car for the rest of the night. It was a race well-run.
Help out the Race Director
This race was to raise money for a very special charity - Camp Quality USA. The race director was able to selflessly donate most of the proceeds to this charity.
Then, immediately following the race, the race director suffered a family tragedy. Her friends created this Facebook page to help folks know where to donate. If you would like to help her and her family out, it would be much appreciated.